Wildly passionate about her family, Ashley Ann Campbell captures the beautiful details of her life through a collection of powerful photos and words called Under the Sycamore. If you’re looking to take incredible photos like the ones you see below, register for SnapShop, a beginners phone photography course taught by Ashley, beginning on October 5th.
I pick up my camera every day for a whole host of reasons. It is my tool for artistic expression. It is a creative outlet. It captures the things my family does. Most importantly, it captures the WHO of those that I love. Part of the joy of photography is the ability to capture something beyond just the way someone looks. Below are five things I keep in mind when trying to capture more than just what my kids look like; they are ways to help me capture the WHO of my kids.
#1 – Everyday life is ‘photo-worthy’
Life can feel busy, messy and chaotic at times – not very ‘photo worthy’. As you begin looking at daily life through the lens of your camera you might be surprised by the beauty that comes with the ordinary. With kids, temptation lurks to keep your camera tucked away when toys are on the floor or laundry is piled up, but remember that is life – and there is beauty in it. It is also in this everyday beauty that kids really shine.
A while back we were in a season where my oldest daughter couldn’t bear to be away from her baby sister. One day, while the littlest was napping, I found my oldest daughter sitting beside her. She had made a little bag of snacks and was just watching her sister nap. Despite being in the midst of a chaotic, messy season there was beauty to be seen in the moment and in WHO my daughter was – a big sister smitten with her baby sister.
#2 – Let your camera be an observer, not an intruder
Capturing WHO kids are often involves being prepared to photograph a moment without interrupting the moment. Let your camera observe and record moments without interfering with whatever is happening in that moment.
After a hike, I challenged my oldest boys to jump from one bench to the other. Before my oldest would consider jumping, he started measuring out the distance on the ground and making calculations regarding the likelihood of a successful jump. As I was snapping a shot of him doing his measuring, his younger brother just went for it – throwing caution to the wind. By observing, I was able to create an image that reflects WHO my boys are in a beautifully accurate way.
#3 – Recognize their uniqueness and celebrate them
Every child (and adult) is gloriously different. Pay attention to those things that set your child apart and be mindful of capturing it with your camera.
My daughter LOVES to sing and dance. I don’t need to ask her to sing or dance, it is what she naturally does all day long. Both shots below were taken quickly with my iPhone. You don’t need a fancy camera to capture WHO your kids are.
#4 – Pay attention to their details
So much of life happens in the details. The big picture (the graduate holding her diploma or the four year old blowing out his birthday candles) most of us do a pretty good job capturing. However, the details often get overlooked. To be honest, some of life’s greatest details are seen as annoyances at the time. To accurately tell the story of your kids – you need to start capturing their details.
A detail shot of my daughter, who believes there is no such things as too much pink, and the tiny hand of a girl that insisted on having her nails painted different colors, are little details I don’t want to forget. Both images were shot with my iPhone and these details tell so much about the WHO of my daughters.
#5 – Capture them in context of relationships
Various aspects of a child’s personality come out in the context of different relationships. Be mindful to capture your children within the contexts of the relationships most dear to them – family and friends.
Whether you are shooting with a phone or a more intricate camera, you have the ability to capture WHO your kids are in a way that not even the best professional photographer can. You know their little details, their stories and the things that bring that special twinkle to their eyes. You are the photographer most qualified to capture WHO they are because you know WHO they are!